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Meepo

richard develyn's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,060 posts (1,096 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 alias.


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Thank you very much for your comments and for sharing your playing experiences with us.

You made my day, actually :-)

w.r.t your comments within your spoiler area:

I love the time-travel arc that you used with the phistophilius.

I sympathise with your player who felt that they'd done something horrible without really being able to do anything about it. As you know from reading the adventure this is deliberate, and it's part of why I consider the adventure to be horror. It's not a happy ending.

In contrast, of course, Seven Sinful Tales does have a happy ending, though I note with interest that Enzeitgeist found it a bit saccharin for all that he liked the adventure!

Funnily enough I'm faced with a similar quandary in the adventure I've almost finished writing called World's End. I like to play with variations on the "and they all lived happily ever after" ending, but it always leaves me feeling a bit uneasy.

On your other points:

Of course, shortening the bit in Sans Secours, and any sort of adventure tailoring is always a good idea. The reason Sans Secours is so long is because it takes that long to acclimatise to the altitude (!) Your point about the caryatids is also well made. The PCs need to venture in several times on different days to get the way the whole thing works. You could, of course, have them vary more often than that - maybe switching over every few hours, if that suits the players better.

Once again, really grateful for your comments and I look forward to hearing your experiences with my other modules!

All the best

Richard

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
richard develyn wrote:

Actually, I'm in a Kingmaker campaign with them, so we're constantly having wilderness encounters at unpredictable times of the day.

Ruchard

You've wandered into the PFS section of the boards, and while you can play that with kingmaker (i think) that sort of encounter tends to be the rarity.

Oops :-)

Actually, we play our APs using PFS rules, because we see PFS as providing a sanity check on the Pathfinder rules.

Richard

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Made number 3 in Endzeitgeist's top 10 list for 2015.

See:

http://endzeitgeist.com/ezgs-top-ten-2015/

Richard

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Shelyn 'cos I fancy her.

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Grey Lensman wrote:
The rankings seem to favor one big release over many successful, but not so big ones.

I think the only way you can really find out what the most popular 3PP products for pathfinder are is for the 3PPs to publish their sales lists.

Richard

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Isn't this a specific case of the more general "should you change an adventure to suit the PCs?"

"If the PCs are so good at finding traps, should you make the traps harder?" is just the other side of the coin to "If there is no trap-finder, should you remove the traps?"

Personally, I like to run as is, and let the PCs rise to the challenge of producing a well-balanced party that can deal with everything, not just be brilliant at some things and rubbish at others.

Richard


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Owen KC Stephens wrote:

The other factor that prevents this from being an accurate view of even most popular product is that it assumes time spent on the top Ten list = most sales over lifetime of product.

But certainly I have had some things that never hit the top 10, but have sold fair numbers month-in, month-out, for years and years and years, which means they were bought by more total people than many of my top-ten recipients that then had a normal dropoff to lower sales after 90 days or so.

Just not all at once.

But it's still INTERESTING data.

That's what happens with me too. 10 people bought Horn of Geryon in the GM's sale this week even though it's been out for over 3 years.

Richard


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This is a 5th level adventure consisting of seven short stories linked together by a number of themes.

You can find it here:

http://paizo.com/products/btpy9kbu?Seven-Sinful-Tales

When seven 13 year old kids inadvertently summon the PCs over to their land by simultaneously making a wish in the middle of a stone wishing circle, the PCs have to figure out what those wishes are and sort them out in order for them to return.

As they soon discover, each young person has been let down by their parents in some way relating to one of the seven deadly sins. Sorting out all seven problems takes the PCs into troll-infested woods, hunting hippos on a raft, breaking into a pyramid in the desert, infiltrating a city's drug den, and so on - i.e. there's plenty of variety here.

Hope you enjoy it.

All the best

Richard

Dark Archive

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dire rugrat wrote:
Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:
I'd just like to repeat the invitation that I made on another thread on this subject that if anyone would like to review one of my adventures then please drop me a PM and I'll send you a review copy.
Richard, do you find many people actually write the review? We did this with the two products we've released and some people were awesome. (Shout out to Lorathorn and Nicos for reviewing all our products so far!) Some people took the "review" (aka: free) copy and split. Maybe we'll see a review from them one day... but I was wondering if you find the same thing.

One thing I haven't done is send out review copies to all featured reviewers on OBS. The only person who gets an automatic copy is Thilo (endzeitgeist).

After that, most of the reviews I've had have come from people who bought the adventure normally and then wrote a review. I haven't had that many people take me up on my offer of a free review copy, but all those that have, have delivered a review.

And very grateful I am to all of them too.

In my case it probably doesn't make sense for people to sneak themselves away a free copy of a product that only costs $4. Especially an adventure. Anyway, happily, I haven't seen that happen.

Richard


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I'd just like to repeat the invitation that I made on another thread on this subject that if anyone would like to review one of my adventures then please drop me a PM and I'll send you a review copy.

Many thanks and all the best

Richard


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(if you find yourself reading this post in many places - my apologies, but it is a significant moment for me)

This month The Horn of Geryon passed its 200 sales mark, which by general 3pp standards classifies it as a "hit".

2 1/2 years on people are still enjoying this "treasure island" type tale that begins with an innkeeper asking the PCs to find his daughter's missing rabbit.

(which was inspired, incidentally, by my daughter and her stuffed toy rabbit - called "rabbit" - which at the age of 23 she still goes nowhere without)

Anyone who loves Dr Who might also have noticed the strong connection between this adventure and the Dr's first encounter with the Daleks back in 1963 (Snakero -> Skaro, etc). I'm a big fan of the classic series and my adventures are full of references to the old black and white stories.

So in conclusion I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to the 200+ people that have bought this PDF, as well as the other adventures that I have written.

And as a general note - purchasers vote with their wallets. Your support of the 3pp scene encourages, inspires and guides the material that we produce. Buy the things you like, and you'll make sure that more of what you like gets written.

All the best

Richard Develyn

http://shop.d20pfsrd.com/collections/four-dollar-dungeons,
http://www.rpgnow.com/browse/pub/5369/Four-Dollar-Dungeons, and
http://paizo.com/companies/fourDollarDungeons

Dark Archive

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This month The Horn of Geryon passed its 200 sales mark, which by general 3pp standards classifies it as a "hit".

2 1/2 years on people are still enjoying this "treasure island" type tale that begins with an innkeeper asking the PCs to find his daughter's missing rabbit.

(which was inspired, incidentally, by my daughter and her stuffed toy rabbit - called "rabbit" - which at the age of 23 she still goes nowhere without)

Anyone who loves Dr Who might also have noticed the strong connection between this adventure and the Dr's first encounter with the Daleks back in 1963 (Snakero -> Skaro, etc). I'm a big fan of the classic series and my adventures are full of references to the old black and white stories.

So in conclusion I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to the 200+ people that have bought this PDF, as well as the other adventures that I have written.

And as a general note - purchasers vote with their wallets. Your support of the 3pp scene encourages, inspires and guides the material that we produce. Buy the things you like, and you'll make sure that more of what you like gets written.

All the best

Richard


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An insightful and thoughtful review by Pathfinder's most prolific and well respected reviewer.

http://paizo.com/products/btpy9dhm?Holy-Island

Richard

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Chemlak wrote:
One review, ready, willing and able!

Thank you very much for your review which I thought was very fair, very reasonable and very well written.

I'm pleased you liked the maps. I don't consider myself any way a good map maker but I do the best I can. I will have to revisit it for the mistakes, though, and release an update.

Your point about "read-aloud text" embedded within the GM text is something I struggle to get right. I don't like read-aloud text either, because I think it makes the adventure feel like a narrative with a rigid progression, and it sort of straight-jackets the GM, but I know you have to try to make life easier for the GM too and I'm constantly trying to think of ways of presenting my prose so that the GM can:

a) easily find the bits to read aloud to players,
b) easily find the rules-related bits when the players start doing things, and
c) be able to read the prose from start to end in a way which flows and conveys the feel of the place.

It's quite a challenge!

With encounter balance, it's a funny thing because you have to present the right number of encounters at the right CR level to give your PCs enough experience to go up a level. That tends to be around the 4/6/2/1 spread for APL/APL+1/+2/+3 or 1/2/3/4 for a level 1 party. That spread gives you 13 encounters, which I tend to think is about right. However, you're right that in these early days I was a bit tough. More recently I've gone for the approach of designing over-CR for in the APL and APL+1 region, leave APL+2 as they are and helping out with the APL+3.

It's all a balancing-act / continuous learning thing and feedback, like yours, is very appreciated.

I think I can see that what I set out to do more than anything else, provide "real" (as much as possible) characters and places, resonated well with you as they did / continue to do with Endzeitgeist. That's what I enjoy about the game the most - it's what gives me that fantasy escapism that's so addictive in FRPGs. And in essence that's what I try to share that with the GM when I write - to tell them what's going on and why as if somehow the modules was "real" (as much as possible).

This was my first attempt and I think / hope I've got better as time's gone on. Once again thank you for taking the time to write this review, and I'm really pleased that you ran it. If you would like a review copy of any other of my adventures then please drop me a PM.

All the best

Richard

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Is this a good idea?

Should it replace Tempest Rising?

Should it be played alongside Tempest Rising to make a double-length 2nd part of the AP?

Any other ideas?

Cheers

Richard

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Celebrating 100 sales today.

(which, in case anyone is wondering, is a significant milestone for a 3pp adventure)

Richard

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I've been playing for even longer (I started in 1980).

The sort of thing that keeps my interest going is the sort of thing that I write.

(I guess that's not surprising, - otherwise why would I write it? :-) )

So I'm rather shamelessly going to suggest you take a look at my material, in particular Dance Macabre, which I think had a very interesting review, and Holy Island, which I recently released, and which is strong on RP.

Obviously, I'm not the only person trying to write what I think of as "progressive" adventures - i.e. ones which try to explore life a bit, perhaps aimed at someone who is trying to get more out the experience than just killing monsters and taking treasure, and I hope other people will jump in to this thread and provide examples of other adventures which try to do the same.

Richard


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Goznaz wrote:
Four dollar dungeons. Endzeitgeist has done better reviews for these than I ever could. Read. Buy. Play. Repeat. Especially Marina and the upcoming holy island.

Many thanks :-)

Holy Island is out now, BTW:

http://paizo.com/products/btpy9dhm?Holy-Island

Richard

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I always buy all of these.

One recommendation though, we need pawns for things like the servitors described in Inner Sea Gods and possibly other creatures that might have slipped through the bestiary net as well.

Richard

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HeroLab has resurrected this question in my mind with the addition of polymorph spells as spell-like adjustments.

(Bravo to them, BTW)

The question in my mind has always been what do you lose when you change form.

The official rules answer has always been (unless this has changed) that there are too many cases to enumerate.

Could we not just use the guideline, though, that form-based abilities are defined as those abilities that a polymorph spell can *give* you.

(Not including, incidentally, characteristics changes, which seem to be something totally unrelated to form which a polymorph spell more or less gives you incidentally.)

So, for example, energy resistance is in, spell resistance is out.

Does that sound reasonable?

Richard

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I think a more interesting question (for me anyway) is whether players should plan their characters with foreknowledge of what's coming ahead.

The problem with this is that if, for example, a GM kicks off a giant-killing campaign, and players produce giant-killing PCs, what happens when half-way through the campaign the AP goes into an undead theme for one of the modules and the PCs aren't set up for it?

Do the PCs then have the right to complain to the GM that they were misled?

Does that mean the GM should have told them, say, "this is a giant-killing campaign but round about 8-10th level expect to have to deal with undead"?

That doesn't seem right to me.

Richard

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I like to plan my characters well ahead, possibly up to 20th level, including equipment.

It's the equipment part, actually, which I find the most useful, because it tells me whether I should think about keeping or selling the loot which we find in our adventures.

I don't see anything wrong with this from an RP pov either. I plan my real life in much the same way - particularly education and career - so why shouldn't an RP character do the same. Of course, things rarely go to plan, but having an idea about your direction seems like a good thing to me.

Richard

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I would suggest an anonymous donations system a-la wikipedia (I'm not sure if those are anonymous but I think anonymity would be best).

Could do more than one thing, of course.

Richard


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Thilo sets the quality that we all aspire to, so as well as providing a bridge between publishers, particularly small ones such as myself, and customers, he also pushes up standards.

He also puts in an amazing amount of time and care in his reviews which make them great to read for publishers as well. As writers, we all reach out to the community with our thoughts and ideas, and Thilo is fantastic for answering us back.

I always look forward to reading his reviews of my products, and I too use his reviews of other people's products to inform my purchasing decisions.

Richard


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I thought for once I would announce this here.

Here's the link:

http://paizo.com/products/btpy99xg?Dance-Macabre

This is an investigative adventure, mainly set within the bounds of an opulent town called Twisted Bridge. After the initial wilderness parts during which the PCs gather their first set of clues, the adventure turns into a sandbox-style investigation within the town itself (i.e. there is a PC-key to the map of the town which you can give to the PCs with the map whilst keeping the GM-key to the town for yourself).

There are plenty of RP opportunities without being RP dependent. The PCs have real freedom to do what they want whilst at the same time you as GM can take control of the pace of the adventure by deciding when the climax should take place.

And, indeed, there are plenty of macabre elements here which I hope you and your players will find both interesting and amusing.

All the best

Richard

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With this combination, where does your familiar need to be for you to be able to commune with it?

It's been asked before but it seems more important now.

Richard

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3PPs will tend to gravitate towards where there is most demand. They would still explore niche areas if consumers bought those particular products so as long as there is interest you wont lose that part of the 3pp product line.

As to your other point - well, my experience with Glorantha was that when Greg Stafford bowed out for a while (for whatever reason, probably commercial but I really don't know), the fans moved in and wrote loads of Gloranthan material. Then Greg came back and took up the reigns again, and everyone went with what Greg did because it was his world. The writers who found their material over-ruled got a bit fed up from time to time but it was just accepted that this was the risk that you took writing for a world you didn't own.

And I'm pretty sure Greg didn't feel that his hands were tied in any way by what other writers had produced.

I don't think that there would be very many fan-wars about what version of Golarion was the right one. Paizo's Golarion will always be the right one.

Richard

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A bit of a funny this one ...

What happens if I fall 20' onto a swarm of spiders?

I know I take 2d6 damage, how much damage do the spiders take?

Richard

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Anybody fancy commenting on Reign of Winter and Skull & Shackles?

I thought they'd be two of the best but no one is recommending them here.

Richard

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In my opinion most role play happens between the PCs. It doesn't require any great skill, acting or what have you, it's just naturally what happens when people get into character (or, at least, suspend disbelief and pretend to be in the fantasy world).

The difference between a non-RP and an RP encounter is frequently as simple as whether the monster jumps you (non-RP) or whether you see it in the distance and plan for it (RP).

I think RP gets a bit of a bad name when presented as some sort of formulaic "socialise-at-party" or "question-the-suspects" or "work-out-the-traitor" conundrum with a right or wrong answer. RP is very subjective and the module writer needs to be quite careful about deciding what is good or bad RP. This is one of those things that really belongs in the realm of the GM to decide with a view on his own players. As a writer your best bet is to present RP in support of encounters and story-telling but always allow for the fact that players and GMs might disagree with your views and go in a totally different direction.

Additionally, skills like diplomacy and intimidate are there for people who don't want to RP. I find them a bit frustrating, myself, but I accept that they're there. In fact I've just written the following paragraph in the module I'm currently writing:

"From a game point of view, reading the intimidation rule too literally will replace a great part of the interaction which takes place in an investigative scenario with a few simple dice rolls. This can be good if your players are getting frustrated with the adventure but I personally would suggest you try role playing before rolling the dice."

Richard

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(not in answer to anyone in particular)

Role playing encounters shouldn't have prescribed outcomes.

The whole point about role playing is that you should be allowed to do whatever you want. There shouldn't be a "right" thing to do.

Role playing encounters fail when the players feel forced to role-play something which goes completely against their nature.

This isn't the fault of "role play" as such, it's the fault of the module.

Non-RP, i.e. combat, encounters are much easier to design, of course. The players generally only have one thing they can do: fight. And there is only one desirable outcome: win.

Richard

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I had a quick look at Midnight Isles and saw it once - but I take your point.

Richard

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A humanoid creature killed by a shadow becomes a shadow under the control of its killer.

If this new shadow then kills a humanoid, that humanoid becomes a shadow in control of the shadow that is in control of the original shadow.

This puts most shadows in positions of middle management. Since there doesn't seem to be a way of "firing" your subordinates, I imagine that once you've got 100 shadows working for you, and you're one of a 100 shadows working for your boss, you're going to have a nervous breakdown.

If I was a shadow, I'd rather hide in the ruins and go "boo".

Richard

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Ross Byers wrote:

If you have money in the bank, then you should understand why a rational creature might have some of its wealth in cash.

Monsters should not buy gear as if they expect to fight for three rounds and then die. Because if a rational creature thought it was going to die suddenly, it wouldn't be buying a +1 armor item. It would be choosing a life that avoids adventurers. Monsters that like to fight and buy gear accordingly do so as if they expect to win. And 'winning' means they have a future.

It's a fair point, except that adventures don't tend to go charging through Abyssal suburbia pulling demonic clerks out of their demonic 3-bedroom semis and slaughtering them for their demonic play stations and jewelry boxes.

The demons that adventurers meet will be the equivalent of mercenaries / professionals who have indeed put most of their wealth into survival.

Richard

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MagusJanus wrote:
It's also canon with some of them (particularly demons, who are mass-produced by the Abyss itself).

I think "uniformity" and "Abyss" are contradictions in terms :-)

Richard

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Aelryinth wrote:

Ashiel, remember that your standard of running fiends is converting treasure to gear, and shifting feats to make them more dangerous. Yeah, that alone raises the CR over the core fiends by +2-3, right there.

So, it's not 'If a GM knows what they are doing.' You're also customizing monsters that are by their nature mass-produced. That changes a lot right there.

==Aelryinth

Monster's being "mass produced" sits uncomfortably with me, I must admit.

I see the bestiary as providing examples of particular creatures, not rigid templates.

If swapping one feat for another changes the CR for a monster, then it also changes the level of a PC.

If PCs can customise their characters as much as they like and still be considered the same level in the whole APL vs CR balance check, then the same has to hold true for monsters.

I also think that the CR of a monster should allow it to use its equipment.

Perhaps the best way to decided whether a monster is over or under CRd is to compare it with a PC of the appropriate level, appropriately customised (!) and appropriately equipped.

Richard

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w.r.t. Vital Strike and touch attacks

The Colour out of Space (note the "u" in colour) as originally presented in Wake of the Watcher had Vital Strike with Disintegrating Touch.

In d20pfsrd, Vital Strike has been replaced with Weapon Finesse, though it makes little sense to me. (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/oozes/colour-out-of-spac e)

I'm not quite sure where the Colour got it's +15 on the touch attack in the first place, but presumably with Weapon Finesse that should be +22.

I don't know where the revision in d20pfsrd comes from, BTW.

w.r.t. Ashiel's improved Witchfire, I can't see what the problem is. It can do a million d6 damage if it wants - at that sort of level, having an obliterating attack isn't unusual. The problem with the thing is that it's a one-trick pony; anything with fire immunity can ignore all those d6s and just deal with its summoned wisps (if it gets them).

Richard

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wraithstrike wrote:
Now if they can get you alone and start getting you to kiss them you are in trouble.

I know just what you mean.

Richard

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wraithstrike wrote:
richard develyn wrote:

I realise that. I just thought the first 1/2 CR from the non-key class should be rounded up to 1 - as an opinion :-)

Richard

I think we are talking past each other.

Are you saying that is a rule or "how you would do it"?

PS: Even if you say it is a rule I won't keep the debate going since. I am just curious. :)

:-)

Just the latter - how I would do it.

Richard

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I realise that. I just thought the first 1/2 CR from the non-key class should be rounded up to 1 - as an opinion :-)

Richard

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Does anyone fancy giving this a quick double check:

(I've gone for the view that they have no equipment)

Fast Goblin Zombie CR ½
NE Small Undead
Init 3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception 0
Defense
AC 15, touch 14, flat-footed 12
hp 12 (2d8+3)
Fort 0, Ref 3, Will 3
Defensive Abilities undead traits
Offense
Speed 40 ft.
Melee 2 x slam +3 (1d8+3)
Statistics
Str 13, Dex 17, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk 1; CMB +1; CMD 14
Feats Toughness

Tough Human Zombie CR ½
NE Medium Undead
Init 0; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception 0
Defense
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12
hp 12 (2d8+3)
Fort 0, Ref 0, Will 3
Defensive Abilities DR 5/slashing, undead traits
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +4 (1d6+4)
Statistics
Str 17, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk 1; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Toughness
SQ: Staggered (constantly)

Human Skeleton CR 1/3
NE Medium Undead
Init 6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception 0
Defense
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12
hp 4 (1d8)
Fort 0, Ref 2, Will 2
Defensive Abilities DR 5/bludgeoning, undead traits
Immune cold
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 x claw +2 (1d4+2)
Statistics
Str 15, Dex 14, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk 0; CMB +2; CMD 14
Feats Improved Initiative

Wolf Skeleton CR 1
NE Medium Undead
Init 3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception 0
Defense
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12
hp 9 (2d8)
Fort 0, Ref 3, Will 3
Defensive Abilities DR 5/bludgeoning, undead traits
Immune cold
Offense
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +2 (1d6+1+trip)
Statistics
Str 13, Dex 17, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk 1; CMB +2; CMD 15
Feats Improved Initiative

Plague Ogre Zombie CR 2
NE Large Undead
Init 2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception 0
Defense
AC 10, touch 7, flat-footed 10
hp 33 (6d8+6)
Fort 2, Ref 0, Will 5
Defensive Abilities undead traits
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +9 (1d8+9+disease)
Special Attacks Death Burst
Space 10ft.; Reach 10ft.
Statistics
Str 23, Dex 6, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk 4; CMB +11; CMD 19
Feats Toughness
SQ: Staggered (constantly)
Disease (su) Zombie Rot
Type injury (slam); Save DC 13 (cha based)
Onset 1d4 days; Frequency 1/day
Effect 1d2 Con damage; this damage cannot be healed while the creature is infected
Cure 2 consecutive saves
Special Anyone who dies while infected rises as a plague zombie in 2d6 hours
Special Abilities
Death Burst (su) When a plague zombie dies, it explodes in a burst of decay. All creatures adjacent to the plague zombie are exposed to its plague as if struck by a slam attack and must make a Fortitude save or contract zombie rot.

Heavy Horse Skeleton CR 1
NE Large Undead
Init 5; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception 0
Defense
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 11
hp 9 (2d8)
Fort 0, Ref 4, Will 3
Defensive Abilities DR 5/bludgeoning, undead traits
Immune cold
Offense
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +5 (1d4+5), and
2 x hooves +0 (1d6+2)
Space 10ft.; Reach 5ft.
Statistics
Str 20, Dex 20, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk 1; CMB +7; CMD 22
Feats Improved Initiative

Cheers

Richard

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I just wanted to say as a word of encouragement to 3pp adventure writers that the big advantage that you have over "crunch" writers is that you can take your work to other systems, both current and future. It takes effort, of course, but I'm sure you could re-use about 50% of what you've produced.

Having said that, I've not done so myself, so if anyone here has, please comment.

I think adventure revenue could be much more long-term. If you think you might have, say, potential sales of 200, then you might get 70 of that with Pathfinder, another 50 with OSR, and so on. If you sold more with one system you'd sell less with others because I don't think that, in the main, people like to re-visit adventures.

It's just conjecture on my part, but I think that in the long-term you'll get your sales figures though you may have to find a number of ways (systems) of getting it to market.

Richard

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Thank you very much for all the answers.

I accept that the GM can take the role of modifying encounters to suit the party.

However I would also like to consider this question with the GM as a disinterested party.

I think that there are three schools of players who prefer a GM to act in this way.

The first are the ones who simply want the GM to run an adventure as written, possibly because they don't trust the GM to do any fiddling about with it.

The second are the ones who see the creation of a PC group that are able to deal with any "reasonable" challenges to be part of the challenge of the game.

The third group are the ones who value consistency and "believability" in a game world.

I belong to both the second and third group.

My view is that once I have a rough idea what a campaign is going to be about (e.g. by reading the player's guide for the AP we're going to be in), then it's up to my fellow players and I to produce a party that is going to be able to deal with all of the "reasonable" challenges that we're likely to encounter. I don't particularly want the GM to start adjusting the encounters to compensate for our strengths and weaknesses - if we're out of balance, that's our problem to sort out, not the GMs.

I also dislike the idea that the shape of the world is going to change to suit me in some way. It breaks my sense of immersion. Part of believability means that the NPCs and monsters that live in this world behave in a way which is optimal to their survival. I'm quite happy to accept that I have a sixth sense with my PCs which allows me to gauge what adventures are within my grasp and which ones are too hard, but after that I expect to be confronted by situations which feel like they could have come out of a well written fantasy book.

There is also a final group of people who are interested in looking at GMs from this disinterested point of view and that's the adventure writers. Writers have to think about getting the balance right in their adventures without having any idea what PCs are going to be run in it. You might assume that a GM will tailor the adventure to suit the PCs if the party is extreme but on the whole you want to pay attention to balance because you want to minimise the amount headache that you cause the GM.

And, IMO, adjusting encounters for players is a headache for GMs.

I know that is just one way of looking at things and I'm sure there'll be people who think it isn't possible to run a game with a disinterested GM. As an old gamer (!) I know that that was a central concept of FRPGs in the past, and like I said I still think there is a contingent of gamers who are interested in that concept being preserved in their games now.

Which brings me back to the question of balance in its, if you like, theoretical form - i.e. the CR system.

Maybe I should re-phrase my original question and ask if the CR system is broken, just how broken is it?

For example, if a CR 5 encounter is supposed to be "challenging" for a party of four 4th level characters, then just how true is this given the variability of a CR 5 encounter and the possible difference in the construction of the four 4th level characters?

Richard

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In my opinion there's lots of racism going on in a fantasy world, it's just that rather than between humans of different skin colour it's between humans and elves, elves and dwarves, etc.

Richard

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Please add me to your "self-publisher" list.

Richard

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ShadowcatX wrote:

A desire to publish other people's works as one's own (as this question indicates) is quite distasteful and would certainly cause me not to purchase your products if I discovered that was what you were doing. Beyond that, I already own ghostwalk, why would I pay for content that I already own.

Instead of trying to figure out what you can get by with legally, create something new and you won't have any worries or any need of lawyers and you won't risk alienating your cliental.

My question does not in any way indicate a desire to publish other people's work as my own. Honestly, I've just been through this. The only thing that asking a question indicates is a desire to get to an answer.

I'm not even that interested in the Bonerattle spell. I just used it as an example.

Can we please try to keep to the issues and not descend into ad-hominem attacks.

Richard

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Chuck Wright wrote:
richard develyn wrote:

Just going from the specific to the general, and at the risk of derailing this thread completely, but it is important, do you think therefore that we live in a plutocracy, and that the principal means by which we are controlled by the wealthy is through fear of litigation?

Richard

I would call it an "oligarchy", but yes.

That is something which should be fought, IMO.

This is one of the reasons why I resist the suggestion that you should always consult a lawyer. It excludes people who can't afford to do so, or forces them to go to publishers who may reject them.

I have nothing against either lawyers or publishers, but I don't think they should be mandatory. Everyone should have the right to write. Of course there are going to be rules, but the whole thing shouldn't be some sort of horrendous mine-field. I would hope that anyone who takes sensible steps such as reading the licence guidelines and maybe some of these forum posts would be able to produce gaming material off their own back with minimal cost to themselves. It doesn't mean anyone is going to read it or buy it, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be allowed to produce it, and without running up huge lawyer bills or lying awake at night worrying about litigation.

This goes outside of gaming as well, of course. If you lose your free speech you pretty soon lose your freedom.

Richard

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Jack Vance is one of my favourite authors. A real wordsmith, with a wicked sense of humour.

He only died last year, BTW.

AFAIK, the Vancian magic system appears in the Lyonesse trilogy (of which books I and III are the best), and the Dying Earth books (a short story collection of the same name + Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga and Rhialto the Marvellous).

I've read all of these books at least twice. The Lyonesses ones are quite epic - if you want a short introduction then either the Dying Earth short stories or The Eyes of the Overworld novel are the place to go.

I love them.

Richard

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I have a problem with this too.

I think one level every 3-5 sessions is about right for me.

Richard

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On a related note, have you ever thought of doing an AP which was a bit less encounter / xp heavy?

e.g. instead of levels going: 1/4/7/10/12/14 finishing at 16 having it go 1/3/5/7/8/9 and finish at 10.

Richard

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